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Internet “dead zones” to disappear by 2024: EU official

Brussels, Belgium | Xinhua | Internet “dead zones” in Europe will soon belong to the past, announced Thierry Breton, European commissioner for the internal market, at the 14th European Space Conference on Tuesday.

Breton is preparing a legislative proposal that will be ready “in the coming weeks” in order to “equip Europe with a space-based connectivity infrastructure,” and the end of Internet dead zones is first on the list of priorities.

The infrastructure should “prepare and project Europe into the realities of tomorrow, anticipate the future challenges and of course, avoid potential strategic dependencies.”

Internet coverage in the EU is quite good, with 97.4 percent households having access to broadband by mid-2020, according to a study published by the European Commission last year. However, in rural areas, only 89.7 percent households were connected to broadband.

The infrastructure will include four pillars: high-speed internet for all and the end of dead zones; redundancy to ensure a connection no matter what happens on terrestrial networks; the use of quantum to create an ultra-secure infrastructure; and a geopolitical aspect with the reduction of dependencies on non-European commercial initiatives under development and providing Africa with the necessary connectivity.

The space-based connectivity infrastructure will be presented in a few weeks’ time, however, a few points were already described by Breton. The infrastructure will be multi-orbital, will have commercial and governmental service, and integrate from the start the military usage and needs.

Breton hoped that his proposal will be approved as fast as possible by the EU member states and the European parliament, in order to see the first services deployed by 2024.

Breton confirmed that the EU Space Launcher Alliance, which he announced last year at the Space Conference, would launch soon.

Space traffic also remains high on the list of priorities, with more than one million debris orbiting around Earth, and more than 30,000 new satellites to be launched in the coming years.



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